Three months ago, after spending about two hours at Rainbow ECD Centre, I was asked to read a story before nap-time. The thing was, the plan was to leave straight after the craft and go on a much needed two-night getaway with my wife. When Julie agreed to me reading the story, I needed to physically remove myself from the room. I almost had a meltdown. My absolutist self couldn't handle changing plans and being flexible. I was furious.
Very sad right? Yeah, the human condition of selfishness is present in me. Some days, it bubbles it's way to the surface. Other days, I have the wisdom to tame it. But whatever the case may be, self-centeredness is always lurking—ready and waiting for an opportunity to erupt. After a few minutes outside and a prayer meeting with myself, I pulled up my socks (metaphorically speaking) and read the children a story.
You're probably thinking, "What a #$%^@!" And I would have to agree with you. But hey, it could've been you.
For the majority of my life, I lived all for me. I still am, most of the time, the center of my own little world. Lately though, as I've ventured into the lives of people who are suffering, people who are homeless, people who are widowed, people who are cast out and desperate, I've been challenged to check my heart with these four questions:
1. Why am I doing what I'm doing?
2. Why do I spend a portion of my week working with four to six year-old kids?
3. Have I been serving because that's what missionaries are supposed to do?
4. Have I worked to benefit my name or the name of Jesus?
What a humbling experience before a graceful God.
It's not about what we do. It's about the way our hearts are postured whilst doing the thing. 1 Corinthians 13:3 says that we can give all we own to the poor and surrender our bodies to the flames, but if we don't have love, we have nothing. Paul warned against working and acting without a heart postured towards God. He said doing so is like a resounding gong, a clanging cymbal and that we are nothing without love.
It's a matter of the heart. I asked myself these questions and here are my answers:
I do want to see Jesus infiltrate the lives of these young and vulnerable children. Julie and I are laying the foundations of something that is and will be far greater than ourselves. We want to see these young leaders, after years of consistent investment, rise up to their namesakes and impact their communities and the nation of South Africa. I go into Masiphumelele every week because God has changed my heart from being about "what I want" to "what He wants." He wants us to be others-focussed, and He wants our fruit to be a result of our hearts centered on Him.
There's more to life than being a good person. Sure, it's encouraged, but for some, being "good" can involve little to no sacrifice. For some, being good is easy. We're called to a life of sacrifice.
I encourage you to set aside some time today to examine your own heart. Is it really for people? Is it for Jesus? Focus less on the "what" and more on the "why."
And to those interested in global and local outreach: I invite you to come do some life with us here in Cape Town. A big piece of my heart is to facilitate ways for people (foreigners and locals) to serve the nation of South Africa. If you'd like to organize a missions trip or join us for a day of ministry, you can contact me here.
Heart to God.
Spread the Stoke.